The youngster I met in the streets of Yangon painted thanaka on his face. Not only the cheek but also the whole of his face was painted. The surface of his face was dappled like a work of a rude plasterer.
Perhaps he thought he applied camouflage face paint like a soldier. Yet I thought to walk with such white face was highly visible in the city center. In fact, he was easy to notice and I talked to him as soon as I found him.
Thanaka is a yellowish-white cosmetic paste made from ground bark. It is a distinctive feature of the culture of Myanmar, seen commonly applied to the face and sometimes the arms of women and girls, and is used to a lesser extent also by men and boys. The use of thanaka has also spread to neighbouring countries including Thailand. The earliest literary reference to thanaka is in a 14th-century poem written by King Razadarit's Mon-speaking consort. Mentions of thanaka also exist in the 15th-century literary works of Burmese monk-poet Shin Raṭṭhasāra (1486-1529).
December 8, 2014
CANON EOS 1V
EF85MM F1.2L II USM